Wheaton students Ben Alston (double bass), 15, Alexander Daigle (cello), 14, Simon Leonard (cello), 10, joined more than 1,000 parents, teachers and other kids immersing themselves in the music philosophy and teachings of Shinichi Suzuki at the 43rd Annual American Suzuki Institute (ASI) at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point this summer. The dedication to furthering their skills over the summer reflects on a strong system of music education in the Wheaton area.
The ASI features classes in violin, viola, cello, double bass, piano, harp, guitar, and chamber music as well as teacher training-sessions during two, week-long sessions that began July 28 and August 4. Several open-to-the-public orchestral, ensemble and solo performances for students and faculty are also part of the schedule at the ASI.
All three students participated in the ASI Chamber Orchestra concert held August 8. One can see the orchestra's performance of "Jupiter" from The Planets by G. Holst at http://youtu.be/tQ2lGk_wDds. In addition, Alston performed as part of a trio; Daigle and Leonard performed in separate quartets during the institute. Alston and Daigle have performed in orchestras at Lowell Elementary and Franklin Middle schools together, led by Carrie Provost - and will reunite in the Wheaton North Orchestra this fall, led by Philip Rudd. Leonard will play in the Edison Middle School Orchestra this fall, led by Joanne Wegscheid.
This year's guest artists included Violinist Steve Zander, an alumnus of the Aber Suzuki Center on the UW-Stevens Point campus. A member of the Santa Barbara (CA) Symphony, Zander can be heard on many film and television soundtracks including Rango, HBO's The Sunset Limited, Pirates of the Caribbean: on Stranger Tides, A Good Day to Die Hard, and on episodes of Perception and Revenge.
"Many think the American Suzuki Institute is the place for talented and motivated children. It is . . . and it's also the place to become talented and motivated," said Pat D'Ercole, director, Aber Suzuki Center and American Suzuki Institute, which the Center sponsors.
"For one week, everyone plays an instrument or sings and has fun doing it. This immersion experience is about music, as well as being with families and teachers who believe every can learn to make music, that making music nurtures the development of character and compassion and because of that the world will be a better place," D'Ercole said.
The institute was the first Suzuki summer music program established outside of Japan. For more information about the American Suzuki Institute or the Aber Suzuki Center, visit http://www.uwsp.edu/suzuki/asi or call 715-346-3033.